A little over a year ago, I pulled up in my classic car to Emmy winner Bernie Su‘s badass compound in the Hollywood Hills. I remember it distinctly because it was the first time I’d driven in four months.
I’d spent more than three months on bedrest, endured a hospital stay, done a bunch o’ PT, and finally got to the point in my mind-body healing process at which it was time to tell the undiagnosable mystery pain it would have to STFU long enough for me to live my life.
After a tour that involved climbing up a ladder into an attic and out onto a roof, I sat down to a phenomenal dinner lovingly prepared by a man who could just as easily win trophies for his cooking as he does for his innovative multimedia creations.
As Bernie and I caught up — we met nearly a decade ago, so there’s always a lot to talk about — we visited the past, specifically talking about how he and I both love putting our hands in the clay on groundbreaking projects.
I’ll never forget when Bernie tweeted about his first Emmy a few years back. He posted a photo of the hardware and wrote, “It’s an award for interactive, almost by definition making it an award for us all.”
That we both LIVE for community-building in everything we do is no accident. It’s something we love putting our hearts and souls into and that investment shows (especially to those who like to look at the long-haul journey in this business).
As we discussed that journey of his — and a few others on and very much off the map in Hollywood — we talked about the similarities between his favorites and the casting I signed on to do back in the year Bernie and I first met. I was the casting director for the first-ever live-action series for Machinima (RIP), the first-ever series in history to make the leap from web to television, the series that landed me membership in the Television Academy: Bite Me. This was a series built around the fanbase, start to finish.
Pretty quickly we got around to a topic he and I could both geek out about forEVER: the future. Where we’re headed. We as an industry, as creators, as consumers, as leaders, all of us. I mentioned how much I would *love* to be back in grad school right about now. As entertainment changes so quickly and so completely… ooh, how I’d love to be in on the convos we would have in J-school.
So, what was on the horizon for Bernie and crew?
“We’re gonna bring Twitch its first Emmy,” he said. And I never for a second doubted it. As he uncovered how this would all come together, starting from the official announcement to be made at Comic-Con a little over a month from that dinner we shared all the way down to the live broadcasts, outlined but reactive to the fans’ every whim, I could see not only the delight of possibility dancing in Bernie’s eyes but also the fact: Twitch would get its first Emmy for this. No question. When you know, you know.
As we walked to my car so I could begin the drive back to the beach hours after a gorgeous sunset and more delightful convo at the compound about all the “what ifs” in our lives, I mentioned to Bernie that of course if he ever needed my help in casting Artificial, just lemmeknow.
Within no time, it seems, he lemmeknow. And, yeah I’ve helped out in casting a few roles here and there over the past year, reaching out to my very favorite people, asking them to go on tape for a, “Trust me; you’ll be glad you put yourself out there for this,” type project… and since I don’t lay out that strand from my Web of Trust too often, you know I mean it when I do.
Three months ago when my alma mater — y’know, the one I mentioned wishing I could go back to, just for all the convos they’ve gotta be having about technology and entertainment and interactivity and the future? — presented Artificial with the prestigious Peabody Award, I remembered Bernie’s sparkling eyes. Here comes Emmy.
And today, the punchline.
Congratulations, Bernie and the entire cast and crew of Artificial. I am honored to have had a bit of involvement in the casting process of this innovative series for Twitch and I cannot wait to find out what’s next! Because if one thing’s for sure, it’s that each goal met just means there’s another one we get to chat about and make real starting at the next dinner party.